Matrai, E., Chan, H. Y. A., Leung, F. M. et al. 2023. Point for enrichment, point for welfare—Testing use of a laser pointer with Arapaima gigas. Animals 13(8), 1370.

The arapaima (Arapaima gigas) is one of the largest freshwater fish species, known to exceed 3 m in total length. It is listed as Data Deficient by the IUCN. A. gigas is native to the Amazon River basin where they are an important food source. Arapaimas are also farmed for meat and for live specimens in various South American and Asian countries. Despite decades of keeping the species in public aquariums, little is known of its behaviour and cognitive abilities. This pilot study provides baseline data on using a green laser pointer as environmental enrichment for this species under human care. The data collection included 18 observations before the use of the laser pointer (baseline) and 18 observations during the use of the laser pointer (test). Ten behaviours were monitored, investigating physical contact, activity pattern and habitat use by the fish. During the test, the fish significantly increased their presence in the tank, their level of activity and their use of the habitat. This pilot study provides valuable baseline data for further investigations demonstrating the value of a laser pointer as environmental enrichment for A. gigas under human care.

Animal Type